My mom is constantly saying she wants to die.

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My 82 yo mother has moderate/severe dementia and is being cared for by my dad and sometimes myself. She has spent her life saying she's"just going to die anyway and no one cares" "you'll all be happy when I die" etc. I believe she has borderline personality. The negative comments were bad enough when she was well but now it's constant all day and night. Distracting her doesn't work. She is on anti-anxiety meds which aren't really helping. My dad and I (dad especially) are extremely frustrated. Nothing worked when she was well either so I'm sure it's not the dementia causing it (maybe aggravating it). Does anyone have experience with this or any suggestions? This is really affecting my dad's health. She's in adult day care 3 mornings a week and we are hiring home health to start next week but it won't be every day due to cost. We are desperate for help.

50 Comments

Getting the right drugs for mental conditions can be a long process of trial and error. Has her doctor been informed that the present prescription doesn't work? Maybe it is time to try something else, for your Dad's sake.

Could she go to day care 5 days a week?
There's a saying that just popped into my mind, 'you know what they say, GUILT, the gift that keeps on giving'. Your mother has got that down to a science I'd say.
If you and your dad couldn't do anything about that guilt/martyrdom thing when your mother wasn't mentally impaired, I don't know what can be done about it now. Maybe some sort of drug like Jeanne suggested.
My mother who is 83 that has dementia from a past brain tumor says the same thing...The old I want to die or I'm going to die is a attention giver...She wants attention on your guilt...I'm 83 & my death is soon (tug at heartstrings) I tell her I'm dying too..she says me first! Then I say Are you God? you don't know what can happen & at this rate your killing me w/antics so I will die before you? Then she laughs! Laughter is the best medicine..Put on a funny old movie she enjoys. (tell her you love her) Try to include her in family get togethers...Don't seclude her...Thank God for those 3 mornings...I have mine 24/7 (thank God for sleep) But one day I know she will join my dad in heaven so at least I have her here while I can? God is watching over your family at this time so pray for patients! Good luck :)
Your mom has probably had a mental illness or personality disorder all of her life. It's time to get into see a geriatric specialist who deals with dementia and mental illnesses specific to the elderly. Do this for your dad's sake. Some people make others so unhappy all during their youth and middle age and refuse to get the help that could make their world brighter and their relationships closer. At this time, it's not so much up to her as it is to you to get her evaluated and see if anything can be done to make the end of her life better. Not just for her, but for all of you. I hope there is a solution for you and wish you the best. Love, Cattails.
Uh for the comment from Cattalis? Real sweet saying that she had a mental illness all her life of her mother before this dementia? (Idiot)
Her mother has dementia but still can comunicate w/her family? She feels useless now & old & the last thing anyone can tell her is she's retarded? The elderly are like children again constantly needing assurance that they are loved & useful...even if it's just to fold the washcloths?
We are all in the same boat everyday getting older to that crossroads in life & hope that you are not put down saying she always had mental problems like you did her mother when you get to that age?
Godzie: Read the original post from tbumpy. Her mother has said these things all of her life and it's now worse due to dementia. Maybe there is medication that can help. I wasn't trying to insult her mom.
I agree with Cattails - I think my father and I were in denial for so long about my mother's mental health issues. Like tbumpy, my mother has been saying she is going to die ever since I can remember. This is not "normal" - and my mother's negativity and manipulation made my father's life miserable; as well as mine.

I also agree with Jeanne about getting the proper medication. It took professionals to make me understand that my mother has and probably always had a personality disorder. That combined with dementia is a difficult scenario. She is finally on the proper medication, but it took years as she refused. I tried so hard to get her on medication after working with psychiatrists she had been evaluated by. And Godzie, mental health issues are not calling .someone "retarded" - it is what it is and until it is properly diagnosed and treated; it is quite destructive to both the person and family. My mother is finally on the "right" meds and such a difference it has made - she is finally doing better after all these years.

I hope you can find some help as Cattails recommended; especially for the sake of your Dad. Take care.
3pinkroses: I am so happy to hear that your mom is better due to the right meds. It's really like a miracle isn't it, a life changing miracle. We have a friend who had problems with both of his hips. For years he suffered and it took him forever to get from place to place. He finally had surgery done, one hip at a time, and the results are nothing short of being reborn. The pain is gone, he walks with ease. He's even on a bowling team now.

To me these are miracles in the lives of those who suffer and I am always moved to see these miracles happen. Thanks for sharing about your mom. I hope it gives tbumpy the encouragement she needs to seek out help for her mom.

Love ya, Cattails.
My mother-in-law used to be pretty mean to me in the early days. She was a career woman, and never could understand why I would want to stay home and take care of our son and my husband, when I could be out there making money. Well now it's 40 years later, she has dementia, macular degeneration, widowed and lonely. Now she's sweeter than pie to me, and SO very grateful that I'm NOT out there working, but can spend my time with her. So it really was all about her in the first place, when I made her feel guilty for putting her job ahead of her 3 boys and husband. And it's still all about her, cause now I'm willing and able to see that she doesn't stay cooped up all the time in her asst. living place. I've had to have a couple of surgeries in the last 3 years, and I know very well that she's thinking 'how is this going to affect me?'. It is what it is, and I'm okay with it (now). ha
Oh my, Godzie, if you think that all mental health issues come down to the playground taunt of "retarded," I hope that means you have never had to deal with real mental health issues up close and personal. I hope you can continue to be so sheltered.

But when a serious, dedicated member of our board, like cattails, suggests a mental illness, it is like suggesting someone may have had undiagnosed diabetes, or perhaps should be tested for sleep apnea. These statements are not at all insults. They are trying to get at what is wrong in order to deal wth the situation effectively.

I'm sorry, but someone who constantly, all her adult life, moans about wanting to die is not mentally healthy. tbumpy, the original poster, thinks she may have borderline personality disorder. Talking about these things is perfectly acceptable here, just like talking about copd, chf, diabetes, or any other problems that the people we care for might be experiencing.

What is insulting is to lump all mental disorders together as "retarded" and to think that is offensive. People who are retarded are entitled to dignity and respect, too. None of these disorders are insulting. They just are what they are.

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